Our core is the literal center our bodies and it can affect the other parts of our bodies and how they function. Did you know that trunk strength can affect our fine motor skills? You use your core to stabilize yourself during fine motor tasks without even realizing it, but a child with decreased core strength might struggle with those tasks without that stabilization. In addition to fine motor tasks, if you notice that your child sits with a slumped posture, leans against the desk or table when sitting, or tires easily during activities, they may need some help strengthening their trunk.
Home Activities for Trunk Strengthening
Swinging on a swing
Pick up toys…with your feet!
Have your child lay on their back and put soft toys or stuffed animals by their feet. Place a basket by their head and have them squeeze the toys between their feet one at a time to pick them up, then lift up their legs to bring it into grabbing range. Once the toy is above their tummy they can use their hands or feet to place it in the basket.
3. Sitting on a Ball
Using a large therapy ball instead of a chair for tabletop activities is a great way to build trunk strength. Always be aware of safety when your child is sitting on the ball!
4. Fly like Superman
Have your child lay on their tummy and raise their arms and legs off the floor. Tell them a story about their superhero adventures while they’re “flying!”
5. Tall kneeling art
Tape some paper to the wall and have your child kneel on a cushion about 1 foot away with their hips above their knees. Put some markers or crayons by the cushion. Bending their knees to lower themselves to get the markers and then raising back up to draw on the paper will give their core a workout!
1. DeYoung, Kelly. “9 Fun Core Strengthening Activities for Fine Motor Skills” OT Perspective, https://otperspective.com/core-strengthening-for-fine-motor-skills/
2. “Pediatric Core Strengthening Exercises Using a Therapy Ball” Your Therapy Source, 2020, https://www.yourtherapysource.com/blog1/2020/02/07/pediatric-core-strengthening-exercises/
3. Kumahara, Ryotaro et al. “Effect of a simple core muscle training program on trunk muscle strength and neuromuscular control among pediatric soccer players” Journal of Experimental Orthopaedics, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40634-021-00353-y